Author Archive

IA CTHULU

Something black in the road, something that wasn’t a tree. Something big and black and ropy, just squatting there, waiting, with ropy arms squirming and reaching. . . It came crawling up the hillside. . . and it was the black thing of my dreams – that black, ropy, slime jelly tree-thing out of the woods. It crawled up and it flowed up on its hoofs and mouths and snaky arms.
Robert Bloch,

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The goal of every writer should be to have their words be worth more than the paper they’re written on.


Art is Science

Art is a lens through which the artist sees a world. The process of creating art is an experiment by which the artist constructs a viewing apparatus for other people to view a portion of a world visible to the artist.  Just as there is a scientific method, there is (or should be) an artistic method.

  1. Define a question
  2. Gather information and resources (observe)
  3. Form an explanatory hypothesis
  4. Test the hypothesis by creating a work of art and collecting data in a reproducible manner (Create and show)
  5. Analyze the data (What did people see through your art?)
  6. Interpret the data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypotheses (Did you properly convey your vision?)
  7. Publish results (“My audience “gets” me!”)
  8. Create.

Perception, reality and synesthetics

Human consciousness has evolved along survival lines. Our senses exist primarily to warn us of imminent danger, and our brain is primarily wired to process this sensory input in a manner that prioritizes threats. Humor, beauty, sensuality, pleasure and even raw emotion are learned, imprinted on us after birth. They certainly do exist, but they are far outside the “natural” blank slate state we’re born with. They’re all matters of perception.

When we re-wire our brains, whether its through the introduction of entheogenic substances (drugs) or guided self examination (meditation), we radically alter the way in which perceive the universe around us. When we become bogged down in endlessly striving for that which is “real,” we’re simply trying to go back to that emotionless, survivalist form of our newly-born mind. We can’t go back. We can’t kill off our hunger for beauty, wonder and magic. When we force our minds to stop working in the threat assessment mode and similarly force it to rewire itself, we are perceiving reality in a new manner. Sounds may indeed have “tastes” in this new perception of reality because we’ve forced our brain to process the signals in a manner in which they are not traditionally routed.

Venetian Snares and Aphex Twin have already demonstrated this.

I care because you do.


Magick appeals to both authoritarian and anarchist elements: either it’s the anarchist element, with “I am a slave to no demon, devil, god, angel or supernatural being” or it’s the authoritarian element– which takes the previous statement and appends “…but they are slaves to me!”


DC Has No May Day

Or, why the Institute for Policy Studies can eat shit.

I’ve often groused about how the activist millieu in DC is domesticated, low key and dead. Every event inevitably follows this formula: BORING SPEECH followed by THREE WORD CHANT, with ANNOYINGLY SERPENTINE MARCH that passes by OUTSIDE BORING OFFICE BUILDING, OUTSIDE BORING OFFICE BUILDING, OUTSIDE BORING OFFICE BUILDING, OUTSIDE BORING OFFICE BUILDING, winding up OUTSIDE BORING OFFICE BUILDING, with BORING SPEECH, THREE WORD CHANT, THREE WORD CHANT and BORING SPEECH. Sometimes, BORING SPEECH is interspersed with BORING FOLK MUSIC.

It’s almost as if all of these events are planned by the same central committee. We’ve long been frustrated and irritated by the presence of 501c(3) non-profit groups– they latch on to every movement and suck the life out of it. Suddenly, every event –no matter how grass-roots its origins– is handled like a goddamned rock concert, with backstage passes and VERY BUSY STAFFERS who are VERY IMPORTANT AND CANT TALK WITH YOU RIGHT NOW WOULD YOU KINDLY STEP AWAY FROM THE SPEAKERS. You have to butter these little shits up, too, or else they’ll do everything in their power to keep you from taking pictures or interviewing people.

Politics.

So it comes to pass that every activist event ends up following the same fucking script, with people on the street becoming so accustomed to the routine that they block it all out. The people of DC have acquired ninja-like prowess in dodging and brushing off bright, shiny-faced youth with pamphlets, and shitty, squawking bullhorns just blend into the white noise of the city. I know, you’re getting less than minimum wage to hand out fliers for an hour or two and it looks good on your curriculum vitae when you apply to another 501(c)3, but the people who told you to do this have no connection with the worker you’re slowing down who needs to catch the subway or else she’ll lose her minimum wage job.

This is why no one who lives in DC gives two shits about activism anymore, and why no one bothers to start anything. You’d think DC would be alive with political discourse on every corner, but it’s not. Everything has been domesticated. Tamed. Broken. Every movement, no matter what it is, will inevitably be co-opted by a large, well-funded nonprofit who will then move its own people into leadership positions in the original, grass-roots group. Or– as with the case of Occupy DC, where there is no leadership position– the nonprofits will createleadership positions with their own people already in the position; namely, the Institute for Policy Studies’ involvement with Occupy DC. We were looking up info about tomorrow’s May Day event at Malcolm X park, and saw this press release. That’s odd, Occupy is just supposed to DO THINGS, not have press agents and people who live in very expensive apartments in Alexandria.

“Who ARE these people?” “Hmm… they work for something… Institute for Policy Studies?” “INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES?! A FUCKING NON-PROF?!” “Yeah, fuck that shit, I’m not wasting my time on that crap.”

What DOES MayDay DC have planned, anyway? A carnival? A family friendly outing of happy, puffy, safe pablum that completely undercuts the serious nature of the entire goddamned 99% message? The right wing and corporatists are waging a very literal waron working people, dissidents and anyone who doesn’t fit into their narrow “God-Money-Empire” worldview, and the best way to demonstrate this is by having nonprofit staffers dress up in CLOWN COSTUMESfor a goddamned PARADE?

The common line of apologist bullshit from non-profits is that without the power of a nonprofit, they wouldn’t be able to pull in notable speakers or professional sound systems– which is probably they’ve had their sights set on Occupy since it first appeared. Think about it– a legitimately grass-roots movement that doesn’t want or need your fucking Genelec monitors that you can’t mix properly, and where speakers like Slavoj Zizek spent their own money to travel to and attend. Hell, DC may actually by a perfect example where right wing media may have had its baseless propaganda finally hit a mark: a rich, well-funded group of flatulent, old “establishment leftists” really have taken over the activist scene in DC.

The major difference between what Institute for Policy Studies does and what Americans for Prosperity does is AFP has the backing of the Koch brothers’ billions, and IPS only has donations from a few well-off people from left-of-center. Either way, both of these abominations are the very definition of astro-turf political movements. Nothing of any journalistic importance will happen at Malcolm X park tomorrow, and I’m certainly not going to risk my brand new camera and lenses to cover a fucking astro-turf event that’s already being photographed by talentless hacks working for a fucking non-profit. Fuck that shit.


Shuttle Carrier Aircraft at Dulles, April 17, 2012


Marine Corps CH-53E Sea Stallions from HMH-464 Condors, MCAS New River, NC.


Pounding Keys Yet Again

The line of thinking that supports the “the only reason that oppressive, orwellian legislation is passed is because of terrorist acts” is a nice cop out. It’s easy to take the administration-friendly line of painting the government as a reluctant oppressor, that it doesn’t REALLY want to spy on its people or treat them as unruly cattle, but plans like the Levin Amendment to the NDAA, the amendment that allows the US military to indefinately detain United States citizens without any access to legal services wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction to some imminent threat, it was cooly composed and inserted into the NDAA AFTER Osama Bin Laden was killed. But the argument never takes the opposite track in mainstream political discourse. We always see the erosion of our civil rights, our liberties and our freedoms as the unfortunate result of some grave, dire threat, that somehow taking away the ability to use a megaphone at a political rally will save thousands of lives, or whatever ridiculous example you want to give. We– the news media, the public and our elected officials– never frame the debate in the opposite manner, that the ridiculous, horrible act comes after it is made illegal, and this as a result and reaction to its banning. Everything in society is framed like this: “there was no choice but to invade Iraq because there were terrorists there” is retroactively justified because some ignorant people who rarely pay any attention to the news perk up whenever they hear “terrorist attack in Iraq.” They cannot make the connection that the reason for the existance of that terrorist is a direct result of the invasion of Iraq– for whatever reason, they believe that Iraq has always been populated exclusively with terrorists. Similarly, they do not understand why– after so much high-level diplomacy– certain countries still hate all westerners with a passion. They cannot understand that protestors who are being gassed with tear-gas canisters stamped “made in the USA” is a far more potent diplomatic gesture than all of the five-star luncheons or glad-handing photo-ops ever conducted.

If there’s one major flaw in direct action, it is that it is far too optimistic in its goals of “waking people up to the truth.” People have been conditioned to believe that the government is a generally benign behemoth that has no real desire to oppress, and that “oppression is something for other countries.” People have been trained to accept the model of causality that posits the government as ONLY acting harshly and oppressively as a tactical reaction against something harmful, never vice versa. You know the chicken and the egg metaphor– in this reality, The CHICKEN CAME FIRST. Only commie hippie scum think the egg came first, and even if the egg came first, the chicken was ABSOLUTELY JUSTIFIED in what it did!


Art is context, intent and emotion.

Art is context and intent. Art exists to evoke an emotion. If we can assume that the intent of the artist is to evoke a specific emotion in the viewer, a work of art can be considered effective if the evoked emotions roughly match with those intended by the artist. Even if the artist’s intent is simply to createsome thingthat only satisfies a deep, as yet unidentified urge within the artist, the work still has an intent, a context and set of emotional responses it is expected to invoke.

From this, we can indeed infer that art iseverywhere— and the act of creating a work of art does not necessarily require a skill set like those possessed by skilled laborers, outside of those skills necessary to achieve the vision of the creator. The primary job of the artist is not to know how to operate a bead-blasting machine or to finish a block of wood– but to assign meaning, purpose and life to aspects of our physical reality. Whether this is done by the skilled act of blending various objects together in a smooth, seamless, well-crafted object or by invoking an emotion in a large group of people, “art” is being created. Even if we took the post modern route– that is, attempting to create a work of art that lacks context, intent and emotion– we’d still have a work of art that had context (why it is being shown, why people are aware of it, the background of the artist), intent (the intent being to create a work of art without intent) and whatever emotional (or lack thereof) response on the part of the viewer. Indeed, in this scenario, the most effective way of creating art that has no context, intent or emotion would be to not create anything at all, and instead use the money to be spent on procuring materials on food, rent or taxes.

Art fails when its intent, context and desired emotional response are gone or forgotten; it is important to point out that “failed art” also possesses the potential for the reassignment of context, intent and emotion. Thus, the cycle of art continues on.